A simple five minute screening could detect which infants may have autism, a study has shown, which could predict a future need for respite care.
Research published in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that by filling out a simple checklist in doctor's waiting rooms, parents could help the early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
Earlier diagnosis could improve the outlook for the condition, with treatment able to assist the child's development and learning.
Researcher Dr Karen Pierce said: "In the context of a virtual lack of universal screening at 12 months, this program is one that could be adopted by any pediatric office, at virtually no cost, and can aid in the identification of children with true developmental delays."
This follows a study by the Interactive Autism Network which found that half of parents whose children have autism report that their child wanders and bolts from safe places, possibly increasing their need for respite care.